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Feature Article


Find meaningful ways to celebrate the holidays

Nina Chen, Ph.D., CFLE, Human Development Specialist, Jackson County, University of Missouri Extension


The holidays are a good opportunity to share lessons in kindness, generosity, compassion and faith with children. Making the season more about creating memories and traditions instead of getting gifts can help make a more meaningful Christmas. Here are a few tips to build meaningful holidays with your children.


  • Focus on family traditions. Share the holiday traditions your family loves the most and explore ways to carry on those traditions. Or have everyone in your family come up with new holiday traditions. These traditions will teach children that they are part of the family and they will become good memories for generations
  • Involve your children in giving gifts. Have your children help make homemade gifts to learn the joy and value of making gifts for others. This can become one of your family traditions that adds meaning to gift giving. This gift-making experience will help children learn to care for others and make the holidays more worthwhile.
  • Teach children to give of themselves. Volunteering as a family can teach children about helping those in need, and that giving time and compassion is more worthwhile than receiving gifts. Children can also learn the meaning of generosity and giving. Volunteer opportunities include:
    • Preparing Christmas dinners for the needy at a local church, homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
    • Visiting with or giving homemade gifts to nursing home residents to brighten holiday spirits.
    • Bringing homemade cookies or meals to needy families or the elderly.
    • Helping elderly neighbors wrap gifts or decorate.
    • Donating items to a food, coat or toy drive.



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Last Updated 12/19/2016